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Replay: The Future of Search and Why Local is So Important

During the LSA’s most recent webinar, Duane Forrester of Yext discussed the future of search and the four major trends that are driven by platform change. He explained what the search engines are most focused on, as well as how businesses can prepare themselves to succeed in this evolving environment. Here are each of the four trends that were focused on:

1. Your Brand is Everywhere

They are more customer interaction points than ever before, and it’s only continuing to grow. Businesses are expected to manage numerous different platforms and interaction channels, including Facebook, Yelp, Google, voice search and more.

Through Yext’s own research, the company discovered that these businesses are getting a lot of their high-intent traffic through new services, like social media pages, Google Maps, Yelp, etc. These are the places consumers are visiting to discover information about a business, as opposed to just a website. So, it’s important for companies to manage these other elements and no longer focus solely on their websites.

2. Your Website is Upside Down

Search and intelligent services are diverting customers from the homepage to knowledge pages. This means that rather than visiting a website directly and navigating to a certain page, consumers are conducting searches for specific information via search engines, like Google and landing on unique pages within a website.

“That one page that they actually access has to contain all of the information, not just what answers their query, but tells them or gives them this access to everything else they might need,” Duane said.

3. The Customer Journey Starts with a Question

According to Duane, the customer is always and almost totally focused on their journey, and thus the search engines are focused on the customer’s journey, which means every business has to focus on the customer journey.

Historically, there was a single list of results for a search, and that was it. Nowadays, that’s not the case, as consumers are being trained to search differently than before. Consumers come across online reviews, videos, blogs and more throughout their journeys. As they read and interact with these resources, their questions become more specific and the answers require deeper information. Businesses need to do their best to predict consumer’s intent when they are looking for information about them.

4. The World is Having a Conversation

The reality is that today we’re in this world of conversation AI, Duane explained. He discussed that every new website moving forward must be mobile friendly to succeed. Conversational searches, whether through apps, voice assistants or chatbots, are driving consumer interactions with AI.

Search results have shifted from simple links to actual answers that are spoken aloud, or people are going directly to chatbots to gather answers, as shown below.

He also elaborated on how consumers are engaging with voice and utilizing their digital assistants. He revealed a statistic from a Bing Voice Survey which stated that 57% of respondents expect to be able to reach and engage with their favorite brands through digital assistants within the next five years.

You can view the recording of the webinar below:

For more info about LSA’s webinar series, visit: http://bit.ly/LSAwebinars.

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